What is a criminal lawyer?
According to Wikipedia: “A criminal defence lawyer is a lawyer (mostly barristers) specializing in the defence of individuals and companies charged with criminal activity. Some criminal defence lawyers are privately retained, while others are employed by the various jurisdictions with criminal courts for appointment to represent indigent persons; the latter is generally called public defenders. The terminology is imprecise because each jurisdiction may have different practices with varying levels of input from state and federal law or consent decrees. Some jurisdictions use a rotating system of appointments with judges appointing a private practice attorney or firm for each case”.
Thus, in a nutshell, a criminal lawyer is a person who is there to defend the rights of the people who have been charged with criminal activity.
What does it require to be a criminal lawyer?
To become a criminal lawyer, the first thing that you need to obtain is an LLB degree to start off with your high flying career as a lawyer in India. If you still are in high school years and have taken the decision to take the law as a full-time career for your future as a profession then you should go for the integrated courses, which these days have been offered by several well-known institutes. And, for your convenience, this 5yr integrated course comes along with a graduate degree as well as the LLB degree.
Now, hold on. Do note that if you are already a graduate degree holder then you do not need to go for the 5-year course. Just go for the 3-year program of LLB course and complete your specialization in the field you like (for example: Applying for a criminal lawyer you need to specialize in criminal law).
What a criminal lawyer should do to become successful?
A criminal lawyer is a lawyer who has been specially trained to work in the criminal justice system of the country.
To become a successful lawyer, you need to be enthusiastic, eager enough to give your best and put in the hard work possible, have lots of stamina and heaps of determination as well. These are the basic qualities that are important to have a fruitful career in criminal law. Some of the people have beliefs that criminal law contains limited drafting within it and that the assignment is not that difficult to do. But, the reality is somewhat different. For example: Be it the case about giving bail to someone, be it a case of cross-examination or be it a trial strategy case, you being a criminal lawyer have to put in your best efforts and also there is a requirement of doing long hours of research before the actual work starts in the court.
You being a criminal lawyer are also accountable for criminal perpetrator throughout the procedure of a criminal trial. Criminal lawyers regularly work as either way prosecutors or they love doing their jobs as criminal defence lawyers.
Job Description of a Criminal Lawyer
As a criminal lawyer, you need to be ready to work diligently for long hours. The job role of a lawyer does not include fighting the case inside the courtroom only. Here, you have several things to go along with fighting the case. One not only has to get ready to debate the case in the court but one also has to interrelate and talk with the police as well as they also need to have words with many of the investigating agencies.
You being a criminal lawyer must be ready to take several phone calls at any given point of time (no matter whether it is day or night). Being a lawyer takes away your personal liberty as its deprivation through arrest or custody has no time to deal with any other issue.
Did you know that at the initial stage of a criminal case, the clients are so much anxious to get relief and suddenly there is a possibility that there may be a quick modification of lawyers that can be quite depressing? Thus, one has to be prepared to face all sorts of issues that can happen at any phase of one’s career.
Job Outlook (Scope) of a criminal lawyer:
Job Outlook of a Criminal lawyer demands a lot, as nowadays, criminal law is being practised by many. At present, criminal laws are scaling upwards, and the number of people punished lifetime imprisonment has risen closely to threefold over the past 20-30 years. The crime rates have increased and inhabitants of the prison are too increasing day by day across the country.
As new criminal laws are categorized, the need for a criminal lawyer to defend the accused will also increase.
As part of the lawyer's job functions, a criminal lawyer will have to
• Examine the case and interview the witnesses
• Explore case law, decrees, crimes codes, and procedural law
• Construct defence and improve a case strategy
• Exchange with the hearing to plea bargain to reduced charges
• Draft, file and argue motions to dismiss and suppress the case
• Sponsor for the perpetrator at trial and at last,
• Draft, file and argue the appeal
What skills are needed to be a criminal lawyer?
Criminal lawyers must have outstanding oral and written advocacy skills so that they can argue a client's case beforehand the judge and convince a jury.
A criminal lawyer must have investigative and research skills to build a client's case and begin a strong defence. A criminal lawyer also must have good analytical skills and powerful creative thinking so that a better legal strategy could be developed and analyzed case law to litigate complex cases.
A Criminal lawyer also must have an in-depth understanding of the local rules, procedures of the court, evidentiary laws, and local judiciaries so that the criminal justice system could be resourcefully and proficiently navigated. Moreover, exceptional interactive skills are needed to build a robust client-attorney’ relationship.
Criminal perpetrators are a fussy group who from time to time go through many lawyers/advocates before settling on any particular one they prefer. Consequently, the aptitude to appeal and retain the clients is crucial for better criminal defence practice.
Where can a criminal lawyer practice?
A criminal lawyer needs a healthier place and a better practice environment to rehearse their case successfully.
Most of the criminal lawyers work in private training or in a solo firm. Some of them work for non-profit agencies or for the administration as public defenders.
They have a hectic shift as they often work for long and uneven hours. They often meet their clients outdoor so that nobody knows where they are meeting and to keep their meeting secret also they meet in a secluded place.
Many of the criminal lawyers uphold a local practice place. Though, for criminal lawyers having a national practice, travel is compulsory.
Wondering how much does a criminal lawyer earn?
Criminal lawyer salaries vary depending on the scope and size of their practice, the business, what the firm serves and the geographical location of the firm too is looked over here. The salaries of the public defender and non-profit are most uncertain. The criminal lawyers who are working in law firms usually earn the highest salaries. Not to forget that the highest paid criminal lawyers are frequently those who signify high-profile, well-heeled offenders in high-stakes cases.